22 May 2020

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: Snoopy the Cussin' Bird

Cuss words were not a big problem when my kid’s were growing up, believe it or not.  I was a cabinet builder for 11 years, the office manager for a beef cattle ranch and well drilling business for 10; I was frequently referred to as the “token female.”  Add 4 lil’ boys to the equation and my filter was completely shot.  When Mama let it fly it just came out, and they knew to run and hide. 

            We -did- have one hard, fast rule though.  They were -never- allowed to cuss me.  I was the holder of the paddle, and used it accordingly!  They were also never allowed to cuss in public.  If it was in the yard, or on the property, it was called “Deer Camp Talk” and was acceptable.   Take away the animosity, the taboo, and cussing no longer held any appeal.  One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten came from my favorite “rent-a-kid.”  I raised them all with “supervised chaos.”

            There were a lot pets over the years.  You name it, we had it.  The ones that consume my mind right now were our rescue birds.

            There was a lady in Social Circle that moved in with her mom to help her go through end-stage cancer.  Her mom had several birds.  It was a sad situation.  When she moved her cats in, in was a -bad- situation.  She listed birds as looking for a new home, and we ended up with 3.

            Snoopy was an umbrella cockatoo.  He was a big ol’ boy, 11 years old.  Peachy was a smaller cockatoo, but I can’t remember what kind – we had a love/hate relationship.  Or maybe I should say a hate/hate relationship.  We never got along.  Then there was “Rocky.”  A sun conure that fell in love with my youngest son.  As we were looking at the birds I heard the owner’s daughter say “By the way, don’t go near…”  That’s when we turned and saw the conure kissing Thing 4 through the cage while he petted her head.  That bird was given to him.

            One of the birds, Snoopy, was actually purchased for a captain as a gift to his wife and daughters.  I only had a couple weeks with the bird, but we developed a bond.  Then off he went.

            About a month later, Snoopy came back home!  Said captain’s wife and daughters’ were afraid of him.  Snoop had a really nice back porch enclosure at his other home, but he was also really loud.  After 3 $65 tickets for “noise nuisance” in their subdivision he came back.  Heaven help me, I got him back.

            Snoop, Snoopy, Loopy, Snoop-Man TERRORIZED the house!  And my children helped him!!!

            If you had a piece of pizza, you had to share it with the bird.  He’d chase you down until he got a bite.  He also had a penchant for coffee and tequila, not to mention chasing our pit bull down just to bite his tail.  You couldn’t turn your back on a beer if he was out.  Chewing -anything- and everything was a given.

            The worse thing was the -bird’s- vocabulary!  I blame the boys!!!

            Snoopy learned “Mama” first.  Go figure.  He’d start screaming it, at the top of his lungs (umbrellas are LOUD), every time I pulled in the driveway after work.  “Mama, mama, Mama, MAMA!!!” due to the influence of my boys’…  Then he learned how to bark, thanks to our dogs. 

            Snoopy was finally taught the “F” bomb.  He would -scream- it as loud as he could when he wanted attention.  Over and over and over.  I could teach my boys not to say it in public, but the bird wasn’t havin’ none of it.  He had a mind of his own.  Thankfully, it was tough to pronounce “f” without lips.  Most folks didn’t understand what he was saying, but we did.  He also learned to “shoot a bird.”  Not an easy feat for kids that couldn’t pick-up their own laundry, or clean their rooms, to teach a bird to give you the middle finger.  But they did.

            The Loop Man finally moved to California with my eldest, Thing 1, where he was a happy hangar bird – until he fell in love.  I got thrown in the ditch.  Snoop fell for a cute, disabled blond that worked from home and could give him all the love and attention he needed and deserved without kids, dogs, cats and other distractions.

            I threatened my boys’ that I’d will the bird to whoever I was pissed the most at when I wrote my will.  Umbrella’s live to be approximately 75 years old, even with bad habits (Snoopy smoked, too).  My boys’ are safe, for the time being.  I ain’t making no long term promises though.  Still have my heart set on a capuchin monkey.


A jack of all trades, Ms. Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations.  


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